No sooner had it become clear that Trump had become to be taken seriously on the U.S. political stage that people started to rack their brains: how is this even remotely possible? Supremely vulgar, ignorant, and blatantly dishonest, what was his appeal?
Apparently, the common American was convinced that Trump would protect their jobs from illegal immigration, remove the bloat of big government, and break the yoke of crooked bankers–and that these actions collectively would propel the working class into a new level of affluence.
Fast-forward almost four years, however, and note that none of this has happened. Even before the pandemic, the financial plight of the rank and file Trump supporter had changed very little. But now, 30 million people are currently receiving government unemployment benefits—about 20% of American workers. During a single week in July, 6.9 million filed claims, the highest ever number of ever recorded; the previous record was 695,000 claims during one week in 1982. More than 20% of businesses that were open in January are closed either temporarily or permanently.
OK, so what is preventing Trump’s support levels from crashing through the floor?
Before you answer that, consider something in addition–that Trump is running on the promise that we’ll permanently end the payroll tax, the basis of social security. People like the woman shown above paid into the system throughout their entire careers, and now, in their golden years, expect to take out at least some of what they laid down decades earlier. Shouldn’t that be a deal-breaker for Trump? Apparently not. He carries an appeal even stronger than food and shelter.
What could it be? Check out the (hypothetical) conversation that the woman is having with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, by far Trump’s most important congressional ally, and see if you can make sense of it.